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Ignorance (from Latin ignorantia) is the state of being ignorant; the want of knowledge in general, or in relation to a particular subject; or the state of being uneducated or uninformed.[1] It is not properly a synonym for stupidity,[2] for many highly educated and intelligent people who are not stupid are often very ignorant of some things that are important, but are unaware of their ignorance.

For many people ignorance is bliss. They prefer not knowing something because it is often more comfortable than knowing it (see Sloth). The opposite of this attitude is what Christian psychiatrist M. Scott Peck calls "dedication to reality at all costs".

Ignorance is typically divided into two types,

blind (or innocent) ignorance, where a person can be forgiven for not knowing something, and
conscious (or deliberate) ignorance, choosing to ignore facts, enlightenment, and education, in favor of blissful self-deception.

Compare Invincible ignorance, Cognitive bias, and Confirmation bias.


  1. Ignorance, Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition (Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam, 1934)
  2. See Intelligence testing